The Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival! / by H.P. Mendoza


Wow. VC (Visual Communications) sure knows how to throw a festival. It was quite a week. A week that led up to a night that I was not ready for. A night that shook me so much it left me ending my sentences in prepositions.

I'm at the awards ceremony, sitting at my table with the guys from Sunset StoriesValley of Saints and Derek Nguyen of Seeing RedParvesh Cheena and Iris Yamashita are presenting awards. I'm noticing how well spoken and confident the winners all seem. I'm just about to lean over to Derek to ask if the winners were notified way in advance when suddenly my name is called for Best Screenplay for Yes, We're Open! I'm so stunned, and cameras are going off (there are pics of me floating around, at my table looking like an idiot that I won't share here) that it takes me a while to get to the podium. Before I get to the microphone, Yes, We're Open producer Theresa Navarro sends me a text saying "Hooray! Best Screenplay!" Theresa was in New York. Apparently, everybody was ready for this award but me.

So, I give my speech. Or, "speech". And as I'm giving my speech, my phone is vibrating like crazy in my hand. (I was busy taking pictures of all of the award winners with my iPhone when I was called on to stage, and didn't have the wherewithall to know where to put it during my "speech".) As I sit back down after the speech in qutotation marks, I look at my phone and notice a ton of tweets, texts and facebook notifications. One of them reads, "Congrats on getting Best of SF Weekly!" I'm too shaken to even know what that means, so I shove my vibrating phone back in my pocket.

After the awards ceremony, I'm walking around trying to say my goodbyes (I had to hop in a cab to the airport to catch a flight to San Francisco, ASAP) and my congratulations to all of my friends. I'm also trying to find the space to text and or call Rich Wong and the rest of the Yes, We're Open crew. I see Parvesh standing in the middle of the courtyard and I'm wondering if he'll remember me from the time we met for 3.5 second during Fruit Fly in New York. I walk up to him and introduce myself, and sure enough he remembers those 3.5 seconds as if it were only 2 years and 10 months ago. He introduces me to his boyfriend Gregory and tells me that he thought the script for Yes, We're Open was really funny. I tell him that means a lot coming from him. He then asks me to stop and it suddenly becomes a contest about which brown guy can blush harder.

I hop in a cab to LAX and I decide to go through all of my notifications when I come across the message about the SF Weekly. It doesn't have a link attached to it, just the message. I go to Safari and do a search on "SF Weekly, award, mendoza" and there it is:

I Am a Ghost gets Best New Horror Director in SF Weekly's Best of 2012! (To which Richard Wong said, "'s still May") Click HERE to see the article!

So, in one hour, I won Best Screenplay for Yes, We're Open, Best New Horror Director for I Am a Ghostand Parvesh Cheena called me funny. VC, your festival has got me aflutter.

Thank you to L.A. Renigen who knows the importance of being as generous to the universe from whom you demanded generosity. Thank you to Quentin Lee for the clothes, parties and a surprise second viewing of I Am a Ghost! (Thanks for noticing the projection! Haha!) Thank you to David Kittredge and Rob McClary for the super support and dinner. Thanks to the Yes, We're Open Crew (Rich, Irene, Seng, Parry and Lynn) for coming to the screenings of I Am a Ghost! Thanks to Bao Nguyen, Dave Boyle, Mye Hoang and Goh Nakamura for the unending support that's spanned multiple festivals. And thank you, thank you, thank you to the Kickstarter backers who came out to both screenings in Los Angeles!

Thanks so much to the staff of VC, Abe Ferrer, Dave Magdael and especially Anderson Le of VC, who personally championed I Am a Ghost. I've talked with a bunch of the other filmmakers, and we all agree that we felt really taken care of. (There goes that preposition thing, again.)

And congratulations to all of the winners at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival! Click HERE to read more.